Ranchot – Dole
24 km 5 locks
We have a rather rude awakening. In, what feels like the middle of the night, ARGO starts to rattle and to shake. Panic, curses, realisation that it must come from the outside.
A 300ton peniche churns up the mud, sliding more than floating over the bottom of the narrow lock cut. They must have allowed for that, as she is far from fully loaded.
Being wide awake, I call it a night. Brushing teeth, getting dressed, walking to the really nice boulangerie/village shop, coming back with fresh bread, the penichette has just made it through the same bridge that can be seen in the first picture. Maybe 100 m in 15 minutes… Some dredging sure wouldn’t go amiss.
Our neighbours are also awake, thus we have a leisurely breakfast with a bit of a chat. They are in no rush to press on with the behemoth in front of them.
Although they send us a text later the day, that the penichette eventually waved them past.
The stretch between ecluse Ranchot and ecluse Mulin des Malades is quite special. The navigation is separated from the river only by a stone wall. The river itself topples over a long weir. Thus for almost a kilometre there are three levels of river. Plus birds.
And there is more surprise to come. There is more oncoming commercial traffic. And a nice boat too.
He even slows down for us and gives us a friendly wave.
Closing in to Rochefort-sur-Nenon, we stop midstream for a bit of swimming and messing. But are more considerate about possible disaster coming round the corner.
We moor up to the floating jetty below the cliffs. In order to get to the top. From there we have a commanding few over the river, a huge weir and the surrounding landscape.
The village of Rochefort-sur-Nenon is rather nice. But the café is just closing as we have descended the cliffs and would be ready for a fresh glass of hop extract and some ice cream.
We settle for refreshments on the boat. Apart from a small section in Dole, the navigation from here to the Saône, is completely artificial. So we use the opportunity for a last swim, before we settle for two days of canal life.
The last stretch into Dole is particularly beautiful.
We find a mooring with a view.
I cannot emphasise enough, that I am not a fan of cities. But Dole certainly is a place I could fall in love with. It just is beautiful. And we are in for a treat. When researching our trip, I found a restaurant, that really sticks out from the pack, that I really wanted to visit. And thus I booked a table at the Grain de Sel.
Before we get there we have to have another stroll through the town.
The lad is big time into cars. Must be the age. He will soon understand, that boats are a much more delightful way to waste ones money. He is charmed when we found this muscle car.
Then we take our table at the Grain de Sel. Never in my life have I ever eaten such amazing food. So well prepared, excellent quality fresh ingredients, very attentive service.
Sweetbread as main for me:
The IO’s fish:
And even the lads children’s menu is delightfully detailed and a real meal, not just fries with chicken.
And for wine they have a most delightful Cahors. Unbelievable. When in Dole go there.
Leaving this temple of delight, we are in high spirits and decide to find out if there is some music going in the Irish pub. Instead we find a night market being in full swing. Stalls of food and drink.
And a stage with a grandstand in front of it. People waiting in eager anticipation. The thirteen time French accordion champion is announced. He eventually makes it to the stage and plays two valse de musette. Very French. But then he switches to incredibly bad schlager music. That might have triggered two gentlemen right in front of us to start an impromptu row, beating the crap out of each other.
So a day not to complain about. Tightly packed with all kinds of fun and culture one could possibly hope for. But maybe cities are still not for me.